Meenakshi Srinivasan Resigns as LPC Chair Following Controversial Proposal

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 at 5:08 am by

35 Cooper Square before it was demolished, January 2011

Meenakshi Srinivasan, chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, officially resigned yesterday after four years on the job.

The Times-Ledger out of Queens broke the news, and the LPC has already confirmed her resignation.

This sudden departure of the top landmarks official follows weeks of opposition to a proposal that would effectively remove public input from decisions regarding approval of work on landmark-designated property. Naturally, the real estate industry was firmly behind the rule change. Area preservation groups recognized the dangers of such tactics, and had been calling for Srinivasan’s resignation.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined the community boards and advocacy group in exerting pressure on the LPC to reverse its course on this controversial change, one in a package aimed at increasing “transparency.”

Srinivasan was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014 to lead the city agency, which is tasked with protecting the most historically rich buildings (and neighborhoods) around the Five Boroughs. Her preservation-minded detractors accused the Chair of pushing the front-line of hizzoner’s pro-development agenda.

“I am honored to have served as Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission for the past four years and to have had the opportunity to serve the City for the past 28 years,” Srinivasan said in a statement. “I am proud of what we have accomplished—promoting equity, diversity, efficiency and transparency in all aspects of LPC’s work, and working with the administration to make preservation a critical part of the city’s planning process. It’s been an intense, challenging, and incredibly rewarding experience. I’ve been very fortunate to work in three agencies and chair two commissions involved with the City’s land use and built environment, and to have played a role in shaping this incredibly diverse and dynamic City.”

“Now more than ever, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission needs a leader who understands the value of preserving and protecting our city’s history, its heritage and culture, its sense of place and its livability,” Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation Executive Director Andrew Berman told us in an email. We have seen a disturbing drift in recent years, accelerated under the de Blasio Administration, in which preservation has been undervalued and the Landmarks Preservation Commission was more geared towards greasing the skids for developers than protecting what New Yorkers love about their city. The Chair’s resignation is an opportunity to get us back on the path towards truly valuing the special qualities which make our city so distinctive and wonderful, which includes preserving and protecting its history.”

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